In a nutshell
Derived from a Malay word meaning ‘dawn’ or ‘bright’, Trang is located south of the more well known Krabi province. A food and cultural delight, it remains remarkably under the radar and off the beaten path.
Why go to Trang
Like other towns in Thailand, Trang is mainly used by foreigners as a gateway to the province’s breath-taking islands. With its variety of access points, including planes, trains and automobiles and only an hour drive to the coast, it’s a no-brainer why they choose it as a hub to head to quieter, less touristic places.
Love multiculturalism? Trang town packs a charming punch with a melting pot of Thai, Chinese, and Western cultures. These are reflected in its Sino-Portuguese architecture and its mixture of shrines, mosques, and temples residing harmoniously together.
If requiring a more authentic taste, walk through the town and its two major markets and experience the daily life of the friendly locals.
Festival goers beware, Trang does not lack in this department either as there is something happening every month. Among the more notable ones are the Trang Food Festival, and Trang Cake Festival.
For the incessant nature lovers, Trang does not disappoint. With a landscape similar to that of Krabi and Phang Nga, it boasts stunning islands, amazing beaches, and awe-inspiring limestone mountains. The abundance of forests, wildlife, and waterfalls around the province make it a paradise destination for trekkers.
When to go to Trang
Trang’s prime is between December and May. Following the season of the Andaman, rains fall between May and September with monsoons hitting hardest from September to November. Temperature is pretty consistent year round with April being the hottest month.
Where to stay in Trang
Most accommodation in Trang town is positioned near the train station and along Phra Rama VI Road. It has a variety of places from hostels to boutique resorts, and with so much competition it grants the opportunity to score quality rooms at affordable prices.
A number of properties in the main area provide balconies, great for kicking back with a beer or affording views of the bustling morning market. Some of the more basic, fan only rooms start at THB350, while the more modern abodes including air-conditioning start at THB750.
Travellers heading to the islands in the area can expect an array of accommodation, though not on every island. There is everything from tents, basic bungalows, up to fully modern en-suite with balconies. Each island that is inhabited has its own variety and there may not be many to choose from.
Where to eat in Trang
Only seeing a trickle of visitors, Trang offers a charming atmosphere and delightfully varied culinary scene. Its multicultural character is reflected in Chinese style dim sum, and a variety of southern style curries. Popular dishes consist of beef curry (gaeng nuea) and sour orange curry with fish (gaeng som). Its close proximity to the coast provides fresh and inexpensive seafood.
One of the finest night markets on the Andaman coast pops up daily near the Dugons’ roundabout and serves up savoury dishes of curry, fried chicken, fresh fruit and Thai sweets. On weekends, a second night market springs to life with a livelier vibe and is the ultimate spot to graze on deep-fried snacks, seafood, and grilled meats.
For the early riser there is an extensive morning market selling the usual Thai fare, as well as home goods and clothes. A typical start to the day consists of the local coffee, a bitter wood-fired brew sweetened with condensed milk, Chinese steamed buns and crispy roast pork.
How to get around Trang
As a smaller city, Trang is fairly straight forward to navigate. Easily walkable, but if preferred it is possible to hire one of their more unusual tuk-tuks. The local tuk-tuk is a mix between the normal 3 wheeled style famous around the streets of Bangkok and a songthaew with two bench seats in the back. These light green coloured tricycle style pickups were imported from Japan during World War II, where only about 200 out of the original 700 remain. Rides in these unique form of passage are reasonably cheap. A number of songthaews and mototaxis loop around town. Anyone wishing to ride further out of town can rent a motorbike for around THB200 per day.
How to get in and from Trang
Since Trang is often used as a transportation hub for travellers heading to the islands, it has airport, bus, railway and ferry access.
The airport is located 8 km south of the city centre and is serviced by 3 different airlines. Air Asia operates 3 flights daily at 7.55 am, 1 pm, and 4.50 pm and takes about 1 1/2 hours from Bangkok. Nok Air has 2 daily flights at 7 am and 4 pm, while Thai Lion Air has 3 flights at 9.45 am, 2.05 pm and 5.15 pm, with the exception of Tuesday mornings at 10 am.
Rapid and Express trains depart Bangkok’s Hua Lumphong Railway Station at 5.05 pm and 6.20 pm every day. Depending on the class, tickets range from THB700 to THB1800 and the journey takes approximately 16 hours.
Buses leave Bangkok daily from the Southern Bus Terminal. One bus leaves at 7 am, while the rest leave from 4.30 pm to 7 pm and are overnight trips. There are standard and VIP available and the trip takes around 12 hours. Tickets cost between THB600 to THB1000.
Minivans also depart from various depots throughout the town to major cities such as Hat Yai (THB100), Surat Thani (THB130), Koh Lanta (THB120), Hat Jao Mai (THB50), Pak Meng (THB50) and Sikao (THB50).
Is Trang safe?
Although Muslim insurgents in the Deep South have been fighting for years, it does not effect Trang or its province. Trang is quite a safe tourist destination, as it’s a sleepy quiet town that is most active in the early mornings. This may have originated from Trang’s days in the rubber harvesting industry when locals would catch up over breakfast after working through the night.
If in need of medical assistance Trang has 3 main hospitals, though Trang Hospital is government run and mostly caters to Thais. Wattanapat Hospital may be the most suited for international travellers as it has a wide range of specialties and equipment and unlike Trang Ruampat Hospital (privately owned), it seems to have more English speaking staff.
Trang station guide
Trang - Bus
Trang lies in the far south of Thailand, capital of a region which hugs the Andaman coast. Perhaps overshadowed by other nearby tourist hotspots such as Krabi and Phuket, nonetheless Trang welcomes plenty of visitors and is well-known for its warm hospitality, delicious local food, and unspoilt surrounding beauty.
There are daily long-distance buses from Bangkok’s Southern bus station, a 12-hour trip. There are two daily train departures from Bangkok to Trang, around a 15-hour journey. Both departures travel overnight, allowing you to sleep. An increasingly popular option is to fly into Trang. From Bangkok’s domestic airport the journey takes around 90 minutes and there are usually five departures each day.
The bus station at Trang is about four kilometres out of town. Just opposite the bus station is a shopping mall where you can catch a tuk-tuk into town, while motorbike taxis depart from the bus station. There are plenty of shops in the mall, along with a food court. The railway station is in the centre of town, close to traveller facilities.
Trang has long been known as an important port town but these days the city is a hub for southern Thai culture, which differs from that of the rest of the country. Manora is an art form native to the area, and you can find a few places to watch the music and dance show in town. There is a decent cluster of reasonably priced guesthouses and hotels in town
Trang - train
There are 2 daily trains going to Trang Station from Hua Lamphong Station. Trang Station is located in the western part of the town.
Trang Province is not really a tourist destination but the province has easy access to different places like Hat Yai and other southern beaches. At the square front of the train station, there are few travel agencies where tourists can arrange itineraries to Koh Muk, Koh Kradan and Koh Libong.
The railway is on the Kantang branch line which splits off from the Main Southern Rail Line at Thung Song Junction. It is also possible to get to Thung Song Junction from Hat Yai on Thailand's Southern Train Line, and from Malaysia.
Kantang - train
Kantang Station is the end of the line for the Kantang spur, off to the main southern line. It is the last station for Andaman Southern Railways.
The station is standing for more than a hundred years now and was originally built in a standard Thai design. Kantang Station also has a small, in-house rail museum displaying photos and memorabilia of how the station looked like before it was extensively refurbished and painted with an eye-catching bright yellow color.
Huai Yot - Bus
The small town and district of Huai Yot lies in the northern part of southern Thailand's Trang province on the southern Andaman coast. A large market and several places to eat are the main attractions in this slow paced region undiscovered by most tourists. Huai Yot has no bus station, but minibuses travel every hour to Trang, the provincial capital situated 35kms to the south.
Trang contains the closest bus station, rail station, and airport to Huai Yot. The 870-kilometre journey from Bangkok takes 15 hours by train, 12 hours by bus, and 60 to 90 minutes by air. The bus station is about four kilometres away from Trang city centre. The nearest hotels to Huai Yot are also located in Trang. Most places to stay here are either low budget, like PJ Guesthouse or Hotel 23, or mid-range, such as Sri Trang Hotel.
Yan Ta Khao - Bus
Yan Ta Khao is a district in southern Thailand's Trang province which takes between 10 and 11 hours to reach by bus from Bangkok's Southern terminal. Sappaisal, Sri Suthep Tour, and Transport Company are the bus companies which make this nearly 960km journey. Sai Rung, Phrai Sawan, and Lam Plok are the major waterfalls.
The Southern Thailand Botanical Garden is both a major tourist attraction and popular place to stay. This botanical garden boasts a botanical library, museum, herb garden, and several surrounding jungle nature trails. Visitors must travel about 21kms to Trang, the provincial capital, to find other noteworthy hotels like the vintage Hotel23, the basic PJ Guesthouse, and the mid-range Sri Trang Hotel.